Michele Gelfand, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
From virility to virtue: the psychology of apology in honor cultures.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
2022; 119 (41): e2210324119
In honor cultures, relatively minor disputes can escalate, making numerous forms of aggression widespread. We find evidence that honor cultures' focus on virility impedes a key conflict de-escalation strategy-apology-that can be successfully promoted through a shift in mindset. Across five studies using mixed methods (text analysis of congressional speeches, a cross-cultural comparison, surveys, and experiments), people from honor societies (e.g., Turkey and US honor states), people who endorse honor values, and people who imagine living in a society with strong honor norms are less willing to apologize for their transgressions (studies 1-4). This apology reluctance is driven by concerns about reputation in honor cultures. Notably, honor is achieved not only by upholding strength and reputation (virility) but also through moral integrity (virtue). The dual focus of honor suggests a potential mechanism for promoting apologies: shifting the focus of honor from reputation to moral integrity. Indeed, we find that such a shift led people in honor cultures to perceive apologizing more positively and apologize more (study 5). By identifying a barrier to apologizing in honor cultures and illustrating ways to overcome it, our research provides insights for deploying culturally intelligent conflict-management strategies in such contexts.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2210324119
View details for PubMedID 36191220